Scientists say that we have earwax to help protect the delicate ear canal and to trap dust, foreign objects and small flying insects, but no one knows for sure. It is known that the amount of wax you produce is genetically determined.
A proper syringing
One thing we do know is that wax build-up can cause symptoms like itchy ears, dizziness, a sensation of blocked ears and even a diminished sense of hearing. The first thing we reach for is a earbud or pin. Not only does using these implements worsen the problem, but cleaning your ears with pointed objects can damage the canal and the eardrum.
Read: Earbuds linked to ruptured eardrums
To solve the problem of blocked ears, best would be to visit your doctor for a proper syringing. Prior to your visit, put some wax-softening drops in your ear. Waxol drops work well.
Here's how you get those nasty wax plugs out of your ears:
1. Place some wax softening ear drops in your ear canal for a day or two.
2. Get a suction bulb (like the ones used to suck mucus from a baby's nose) and body-temperature water.
3. By softly aiming a gentle stream of water to the top part of the ear canal, you may manage to dislodge and wash some of the wax out.
4. Repeat the process a few of times.
5. If you don't have any success, stop! Continuous washing may damage the canal or ear drum.
When should you NOT self-syringe:
1. If you have grommets
2. If you have or previously had a hole in your tempanic membrane
3. If you have ear pain
4. If your ear canal is exceptionally narrow
5. If you've experienced dizzy spells
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Image: Medical ear wash from Shutterstock
Dr. Owen J. Wiese is Health24's resident doctor. After graduating from Stellenbosch University with additional qualifications in biochemistry and physiology he developed a keen interest in providing medical information through the media.